OIC bodies to get help in developing Covid-19 test kits

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ISLAMABAD: The Organization of Islamic Cooperation Standing Committee on Scientific and technological Cooperation (COMSTECH) is collaborating with the International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS), University of Karachi to help the OIC institutions in developing diagnostic kits for COVID-19.

This was stated by COMSTECH Coordinator General Prof Dr Iqbal Choudhary while addressing an online meeting with 22 scientists and heads of the virology diagnostic laboratories of Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Azerbaijan, Gambia, Sénégal, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Egypt, and Azerbaijan. The meeting was aimed at exploring avenues of intra-OIC collaboration for capacity building of the laboratories.

Prof Iqbal Choudhary, who is also heading the ICCBS, University of Karachi said at the meeting:  “COMSTECH offers two online training courses in collaboration with the ICCBS-University of Karachi and National University of Science and Technology (NUST), Islamabad this year for building capacities of scientists in testing and developing diagnostic kits for COVID-19.”

COMSTECH has submitted a proposal to Islamic Development Bank to further enhance testing capacities of OIC member states, he said, adding that this proposal aims to enhance testing capacities of the targeted countries by developing RT Loop-mediated Isothermal Amplification (LAMP) and Antibodies based detection kits for the SARS-CoV-2 diagnosis. These kits can be used without sophisticated diagnostic infrastructure, he said.

It is pertinent to mention here that as many as 17 OIC institutions have already showed their interest in benefiting from this opportunity.

All participants offered their full support to COMSTECH intra-OIC cooperation initiative for coping with the current and any future pandemics.

The participants of the meeting underline the importance of assessing the current available facilities, resources and workforce, equipping the labs with minimum standards, supporting technology transfer, training of technicians and ensuring the availability of skilled manpower, and initiating collaborative projects.